Venezuelan Gustavo Dudamel, considered one of the greatest conductors of our time, protests once more against a decision from his native country's government to cancel a Dudamel-led tour of acclaimed Simón Bolívar Symphony Orchestra in Asia.
Although Venezuela is praised worldwide for its successful musical education program, today the country is economically damaged by the "bolivarianista" left-wing regime headed by late presidente Hugo Chávez and his successor Nicolás Maduro, and international community has expressed concerns about the poor living conditions of thousands of venezuelans.
Considering Dudamel has been accused by some of his fellow countrymen of not expressing his views against the terrible problems faced by the Venezuelan people under Maduro's regime, the conductor left many surprised when he started speaking out against the government in the last couple of months, particularly when it has affected "El Sistema", the publicly financed music education program created by venezuelan José Antonio Abreu in 1975. El Sistema gives free musical education for impoverished venezuelan children and teens. Dudamel himself was raised in El Sistema, in which he began his musical training.
Read below the text posted today by Dudamel on his Facebook page:
"My heart is broken by the Venezuelan government's cancellation of another tour by an El Sistema orchestra.
This is a very sad, painful moment for me, for the Simon Bolivar Symphony Orchestra of Venezuela, and for my country. We have once again been prevented in our wish to share the remarkable talent and hope of our people with the world.
Yet events like these only strengthen my resolve to ensure that the music continues, everywhere. Indeed, these difficult times are precisely when we need music the most - to reaffirm the human connections between us, to give expression to our desires, and to nourish our dreams of better days to come.
To our friends in Taiwan, Guangzhou and Hong Kong, thank you for your understanding and support.
For my dear brothers and sisters in the Bolívar orchestra and the young people across our magnificent country, remain strong and proud: our spirit will not be broken, our hope will not waiver, our music will not be silenced. We are the future.
I shall never stop defending freedom of expression and the values of a just society. Dark days like these are difficult, but standing together, we can rise to the challenge of improving our society.
In that cause, we can all take inspiration from Beethoven, who in his Choral Fantasy, calls us to aspire to our highest ideals:
"Accept then, you beautiful souls, Joyously the gifts of Art.
When love and strength are united Humanity is rewarded with Divine grace.".